Best Guitar Cables - The Ultimate Guide

Best Guitar Cables - The Ultimate Guide



The best guitar cables will last you for years and years of use, delivering top sonic quality for your guitar time and time again. Paradoxically however, they’ll also break down on you when you least need them too, usually just before you’re about to get up on stage for that sold out show or hit record on a fresh take.

To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, it’s best to make certain you always have a back up to go with the cable you’re currently using. This goes for pretty much any consumable you use too, from your guitar strings, to picks, to your guitar itself. If you’re finicky about your tone like us, then only the best guitar cables will do for you.

What to look for

As well as putting up with plenty of abuse, a good cable will reliably deliver your hard-fought tone with minimal colouring, ensuring a maximum of sound quality and a minimum of noise. Budget cables, like those dodgy ones you get off Amazon, can introduce unwanted noise into your signal chain, as well as failing when you least need them too. Although initially cheaper up front, trust us they will cost you later down the line! 

A quality cable will be with you for a long time, we have a Planet Waves cable that's been with us nearly fifteen years and it's still going strong! Some of our Fender cables have been gigged for well over five years and are showing no sign of slowing down just yet!

Solid Connectors

The connector is the most used part of your cable, and needs to put up with the abuse of constant plugging and unplugging, as well as potential pressure from catching your cable in something or accidentally stepping on it. Top quality connectors like the ones from Neutrik ensure that you get a reliable tone transfer with minimal chance of failure.

Best Guitar Cables

Cable Length

The length of your cable plays a part in tone transfer too. The longer a cable, the more top end you lose essentially. Whilst for most players this might not be that noticeable, if you’re a proper tone hound you may find this displeasing to your well trained ear. Not everyone is opposed to a long cable length though, Hendrix himself loved a coiled cable as it took out a little of his Strat’s treble cut.

Best Guitar Cables

 

The Best Guitar Cables

Now we know what to look for when purchasing the best guitar cables, lets have a look at some of the top picks from the Northwest Guitars shop!

Fender Professional Series Instrument Cable

As well as making great guitars Fender also know a thing or two about excelling in accessories. The Fender Professional Series Instrument Cable is made with high quality materials, ensuring that your tone is transferred transparently. We use these on our own live rig, and they do a great job!

Fender Guitar Cable

The extra thick gauge features resilient 95% OFC spiral shielding and nickel-plated connectors for maximum sound transmission. The 8mm outer diameter wire jacket is engineered to ensure it has no ‘physical memory’, stopping you from getting in a twist whether on stage or in the studio.

Shop Fender Professional Series Instrument Cable here.

Ernie Ball Coiled Guitar Cable

Famously used by Hendrix, coiled guitar cables not only look great but offer a nice little tone tweak for those who prefer a less treble-heavy sound. The Ernie Ball Coiled Guitar Cable features a sturdy construction to ensure it deals with life on the road easily.

Ernie Ball Coiled Guitar Cable

Multiple shielding materials prevent any excess interference, meaning you can crank up the gain without a minimum of annoying hum interfering with your guitar playing. The spiral shape of this cable means you have a longer cable length, which is great for cutting some of the high end if you have a harsh, trebly guitar tone.

Shop Ernie Ball Coiled Guitar Cable here.

D'Addario Circuit Breaker Series Guitar Cable

Formerly known as Planet Waves, the D’Addario Circuit Breaker Series Guitar Cable is a top quality bit of kit that ensures maximum signal transfer, whether on stage or in the studio. Solderless plugs mean this cable is less likely to fail over time, and that’s not the only trick up its sleeve.

D'Addario Circuit Breaker Guitar Cable

This cable features an integrated mute switch that prevents any speaker damaging pops when you unplug your instrument. If you like to swap guitars during a live set, this handy cable lets you do it without deafening your audience. Oxygen-free copper conductors deliver low capacitance, which transfers pure and uncoloured guitar tone.

Shop D’Addario Circuit Breaker Series Instrument Cable here.

MXR Standard Guitar Cable

Owned by Jim Dunlop, the MXR brand does more than just guitar pedals. The MXR Standard Guitar Cable is built with great tone at the forefront of its design. Perfect for stage or studio, it features a kink resistant design to ensure easy packing during set up and set down.

MXR Standard Guitar Cable

Featuring MXR’s own ‘Sweet Spot’ capacitance, these cables transfer tonal harmonics beautifully, preserving your guitar or bass tone perfectly. Oxygen-free copper conductors transfer tone clearly whilst spiral shielding prevents unwanted interference from entering your signal chain, whilst also ensuring the cable remains flexible and lightweight.

Shop MXR Standard Instrument Cable here.

Planet Waves Classic Series Guitar Cable

Planet Waves cables have a reputation for top quality, so its no surprise to find the Planet Waves Classic Series Guitar Cable comes with a lifetime guarantee! It’s also one of the cheaper options on this list too, so makes a great backup cable for the stage, studio, or home use.

Planet Waves Guitar Cable

A low capacitance rating means your tone will be clear as day, whilst shielding ensures no extraneous noise enters your signal path. Moulded plastic plugs reject strain, offering fantastic protection that will easily deal with life on the road. A great option for the guitar player on a budget.

Shop Planet Waves Classic Series Instrument Cable here.

Fender Original Instrument Cable

Available in an array of cool colours, the Fender Original Instrument Cable is perfect for matching with your Fender finish, whether its Daphne Blue or Fiesta Red. Featuring a PVC outer jacket, this reliable instrument cable will keep you playing for years and years.

Fender Guitar Cable

90% OFC spiral shielding rejects outside noise, preserving the purity of your signal chain. Nickel-plated connectors do the double job of putting up with regular abuse, whilst ensuring a firm and stable connection whether you’re going straight into the amp or into a pedalboard. This is a high-performance cable that’s not just for Fender lovers.

Shop Fender Original Instrument Cable here.

Ernie Ball Flat Patch Cables

Okay so these aren’t instrument cables as such, but they’re best sellers for good reason! If you’ve got a pedalboard you’ll know that sometimes space can be at a premium, and you might struggle to squeeze on that extra drive pedal you really want. With a set of Ernie Ball Patch Cables you can put any ideas of downsizing to one side, and get on with making the board of your dreams.

Ernie Ball Pedal Cables

Multiple shielding materials deliver a minimum of interference, great for boards that are running lots of different pedals in series. A durable PVC outer jacket means you can twist to your hearts content to reach that awkward top or side jack, without fear of the cable failing on you. The low profile connectors give you maximum real estate to play with, whilst delivering cris highs, tight mids, and sublime harmonics.

Shop Ernie Ball Flat Patch Cables here.

In Conclusion

Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of the best guitar cables you’ve got no excuse being caught short at your next show! All of these cables will do an admirable job of transferring your guitar tone faithfully and accurately, so it’s up to you to decide which one is best for your needs.

Learn More

Get your guitar playing its best with our Best Guitar Maintenance Kits.

Augment your playing with the Best Guitar Capos.

Understand what strings are best for your playing style with our String Gauge Guide.

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